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Snow Leopard in action looks a lot like OS X Leopard, but its significantly faster, according to Apple.  (Source: Apple)

The new OS also improves accessibility, adding support for braille wireless accessories for the visually impaired.  (Source: Apple)
Apple is ready to spread OS X 10.6 to the masses

Apple's new operating system, OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", will beat the company's own launch target of September – an official launch date of August 28 was just announced.  The new OS is priced at $29 per license for OS X Leopard users (with additional discounts for bulk license users).  Apple notes, "Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange."

Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, describes, "Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected.  For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world’s most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support."

The new OS is set to go head-to-head with Microsoft's Windows 7 and delivers many major improvements for Mac users.

Over 90 percent of the 1,000 core programs in OS X had their performance tuned and improved, according to Apple.  Many -- namely, Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, and Safari -- were moved from 32-bit into a 64-bit world, which boosts memory performance, among other things.  Apple says that its Finder is "more responsive", its Mail client is twice as fast, and Time Machine is 80 percent faster at its initial backup.

Apple includes the new QuickTime X and Safari 4 with the OS.  Apple says that the new version of Safari is more resistant to plug-in crashes and 50 percent faster at general web browsing (Safari recently received the accolade of being listed by Futuremark as tied with Google's Chrome as the fastest browser).

The size of the installation has also been cut in half freeing 7 GB. 

Apple is pushing a couple of new technologies with Snow Leopard.  The first is its Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) a technology designed to optimize multi-core usage.  Another new tech is OpenCL, a C-based open standard, which looks to provide heterogenous processing on both GPUs and CPUs.

Ironically, one of Apple's biggest selling point with the new OS comes from competitor Microsoft.  Apple explains, "Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and it allows you to use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can also take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight searches and Quick Look previews."

Unlimited licenses of Snow Leopard are available for $499, half the price of an unlimited pack for Leopard.  The new OS will start shipping this Friday to customers that pre-order.  Amazon.com has already been holding an unofficial pre-order for the last couple weeks and saw Snow Leopard jump to the top of its software sales charts.

Snow Leopard Server will launch on August 28, as well, alongside the new consumer OS.  The Server edition comes with Podcast Producer 2 and Mobile Access Server and costs $499 for an unlimited license.



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RE: Ordered
By StevoLincolnite on 8/24/2009 2:56:18 PM , Rating: 4
What a load of rubbish, there are decades worth of games available for the PC, stemming way back to the time of the Dinosaurs. (Or the DOS era).

Then you have the little ability to Emulate other platforms which also opens up a massive amount of available games to play.

Then you have the massive money making MMORPG games like WoW, Eve Online etc'.

What about Browser games like Travian? or Flash games?

Hows about Casual games from Popcap/Reflexive Arcade/Game house?

Just because the creator isn't called "Crytek" doesn't mean there aren't games, PC gaming isn't going anywhere, it's merely shifting focus to the casual games/console ports, or in a dry spell again. (We were in this same situation about a decade ago.)


RE: Ordered
By rudy on 8/24/2009 4:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
He may have actually been talking about the online move. Many people feel that in 10 or so years we will all only be playing games that are streamed to us as an image and we just send back the input. Should take cheating off the table one of the big issues and will decrease the cost of computers. Consoles are very well poised to do this as well. For the last several years it seems consoles have really picked up steam and PC gaming has slowed down.

Although despite that the PC games are still far ahead of consoles but the fact is consoles are catching up.


RE: Ordered
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/24/2009 8:13:46 PM , Rating: 4
latency issues will ensure that this off-site game processing model will NEVER happen for any game which requires user speed/precision in controls.


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